Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Economic Policy Rhetoric

I'm kinda late blogging this issue, as the matter was discussed and a ruckus was created in Parliament last Thursday morning in Parliament. You would have read all about it here (Malaysiakini) or here (The Sun).

The question from REMBAU was:
...adakah kerajaan bercadang untuk mengubah polisi yang telah digubal berlandaskan semangat Dasar Ekonomi Baru, terutamanya yang menolong kaum bumiputera sejajar dengan desakan pembangkang untuk menolak dasar ini.
The replies from the Government, which has been asked numerous times on this issue in this session, of which written replies has been provided has been standard and rhetorical and does not at all address the issues at hand. To quote some of the standard replies provided, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Senator Datuk Amirsham A Aziz stated that:
DEB telah digubal pada awal 1970-an dengan matlamat utama iaitu untuk mencapai perpaduan nasional dan pembentukan negara melalui strategi serampang dua mata.

Pertama, pembasmian kemiskinan tanpa mengira kumpulan etnik dan kedua, penyusunan semula masyarakat bagi menghapuskan pengenalan etnik mengikut fungsi ekonomi. Semangat DEB kemudiannya telah diterapkan dalam dasar-dasar ekonomi selepasnya iaitu Dasar Pembangunan Nasional, Dasar Wawasan Negara dan Misi Nasional di bawah Rancangan Malaysia Kesembilan bagi menangani masalah jurang sosial ekonomi antara dan di kalangan kumpulan etnik bandar dan luar bandar.
I won't quote the entire thing but you can read the rest of his "standard" reply here from the Hansard. The government has never responded to the issue that the problem and objection with the DEB doesn't really lie with the "noble" objectives but with its discriminatory practices and overzealous implementation.

Anyway, the whole episode got "politicised" when REMBAU asked in his supplementary question:
Ahli Yang Berhormat daripada bahagian yang juga Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang telah berikrar untuk menghapuskan Dasar Ekonomi Baru daripada pentadbiran Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang kerana DEB ini, “Breeds corruption, cronyism and systematic inefficiency”, dengan izin.

Saya hendak bertanya Yang Berhormat Menteri, adakah adil untuk Yang Berhormat
Bagan membuat rumusan umum seolah-olah rakyat yang mendapat faedah daripada DEB, yang miskin tidak kira kaum, berjuta-juta pelajar dan profesional bumiputera termasuk Yang Berhormat Menteri sendiri yang menjadi produk DEB, yang menjadi ketua pegawai eksekutif bank yang terbesar di Malaysia seolah-olah kita semua ini kroni dan kaki rasuah. Adakah ini kenyataan yang adil, Yang Berhormat Menteri? Adakah ini adil?
That was when the Minister started reading his 2-page prepared text which clearly demonstrated that the answer was prepared in advance, making a mockery of the parliamentary question time. There was obvious collusion between REMBAU and the Minister, to attack BAGAN on his statement to eliminate the corruption and cronyism associated with the New Economic Policy.

Datuk Amirsham started his reply with
...saya berpendapat kenyataan Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang itu tidak tepat dan langsung tidak memahami objektif DEB... Kalau itu kesimpulan beliau tentang DEB, maka sesiapa sahaja yang mendapat bantuan melalui DEB sama ada dalam bentuk pinjaman, peluang pekerjaan, peluang perniagaan, biasiswa dan lain-lain itu adalah kroni dan kaki rasuah...
An answer like that from a so-called technocrat and professional Minister certainly deserves, in my opinion, the heckling from the opposition members he received subsequently. IPOH TIMUR rightly asked, "Panjangnya jawapan tambahan, siapa sediakan?" You can watch the video here.

I had stood to ask an additional supplementary question, but the opportunity went to BATU KAWAN [Prof Ramasamy]. I had wanted to ask the Minister:
Bukankah satu dasar yang memberikan tumpuan khusus kepada membantu golongan miskin jauh lebih berkesan membantu kaum bumiputera yang kurang berkeupayaan berbanding dengan DEB yang memberikan tumpuan mengikut bangsa, kerana ramai yang diberikan bantuan kerajaan bukannya golongan miskin kaum bumiputera, tetapi kaum UMNOputera yang telah kaya-raya, dan yang menerima manfaat yang lumayan sekali?
It's a question I hope to get the opportunity to ask one day in Parliament, as I would really like to hear the answer from the Ministers involved.
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